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Poster: anh Mike Date: Aug 8, 2009 7:47pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright Research

thank for you info on checking for PD movies. Anymore suggestions hsuold be helpful. I know the serialsquadron.com has some comments on PD movies. But one need to join yuku to see those comments.

BTW are you saying that if the character is copyrighted and TM, then the films should not be uploaded. I read previous post that seemed to say that about Captian America serial, which is PD. I skeptical and never heard that it is under the protection of marvel comics. The nostolgia merchant VHS has no permission notice and serialsquadron never sought marvel's permission. Futhermore, there are many films w. copyrighted and TM character posted on IA.

Thanks for all the advice

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Aug 8, 2009 8:21pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright Research

In theory, character's can't be copyright but they can be trademarked. Case law has demonstrated that trademarks can't be used to extend protection on a Public Domain work. So if the work is public domain and the character is trademarked it is legal to use the public domain film. However, in practice this does not always work. Some copyright owners use their legal power to pressure content users into not using these items even though the law would most probably be on the users side.

When using a comic book film/serial/TV ep with possible underlying rights, it comes down to one simple question. Is this film featuring "character x" based on a completely original story or is it based on one or more of the books?

If it was an original story: the rights to that story are coupled with the motion picture copyright, which has expired. Looking closely at "Captain America" it looks like the serial was based on a completely original story which means it would be fairly safe to use this serial (but that doesn't mean Marvel won't have a problem with people using it.)

The Fleisher/Famous Studios Superman Cartoons and the "Stamp Day for Superman" short I uploaded to ClassicTV are also OK becuase they are all original stories and the copyright expired when the motion picture copyright lapsed. This is even the same for using the WB cartoons, or any films with characters like Sherlock Holmes, The Shadow, Amos & Andy, etc where some of the catalogue is PD and some is in copyright.

Secret Agent X-9 is a different story. The serials are based on plot and story elements from specific books. Because of this the serial becomes a derivative work that is subject to the control of the original work (the book's) copyright owner. This is similar to the way that movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" were pulled out of the public domain.

Now to the trademarks. The purpose of a trademark is to protect a commercial brand and to prevent parties other than the rightful owner from using that brand. So you have to be careful how you use a trademarked character name. You are allowed to use a trademarked character name for "descriptive use". This means if the character name is in the title of the film you are free to use it, but if it isn't, you need to be careful how you use the name. "Stamp Day for Superman" is OK because "Superman" is in the title, but "The Shadow: International Crime" isn't because the film is called "International Crime". The best way to avoid this is to use a descriptive sentence ("INTERNATIONAL CRIME starring ROD LA ROCQUE as LAMONT CRANSTON/THE SHADOW") and never reproduce logos or symbols, unless they are part of an original public domain poster. You also can't remix, derive or remake the film beacuse this would infringe the trademark. You can only use the films in their original context. Keep this in mind and the big bad rights owners probably won't bother you with a Cease & Desist letter.

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Poster: guyzilla Date: Aug 8, 2009 11:40pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright Research

I was the one that offered to upload the "Captain America" serial but got cold feet about it. In the serial, the only elements from the comic book that survived the big screen transition was the title character's name and costume (minus the shield), the rest of the story had nothing to do with the comics. If I were to go ahead and upload it, wouldn't I risk getting the Archive into some heavy legal hassles, even thought the serial is PD?

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Poster: anh Mike Date: Sep 17, 2009 3:01pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright Research

"Secret Agent X-9 is a different story. The serials are based on plot and story elements from specific books. Because of this the serial becomes a derivative work that is subject to the control of the original work (the book's) copyright owner. This is similar to the way that movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" were pulled out of the public domain."--Video Cellar

What in the X-9 serial(s)are from the dashiel Hammett strips? He only wrote 3 stories. Therefore which stories and panel from the strips are elements or story borrowed. Please point them out to me.. for example Ch1 is from the story of ..... and panel .......

Thanks for your help

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Sep 18, 2009 12:08am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright Research

I don't think that the issue is bits of stories. The issue is the character nd the creative elements that make up the character. The reality is that the character name can not and is not the subject copyright but the character description and details (image, alias, job, demeaner, backstory, world view, surroundings, point of view, etc, etc) are all copyrightable elements of the stories. Dashiell Hammet created and wrote the first few stories, then it was continued by others. Until the originating story enters the public domain NO derivative work can truely be PD. Whether it be a book written 10 years later by Leslie Charteris or a serial made by Universal. The law allows the Hammet Estate to control the original creative elements that appear in all derivative works.

The best example of this is with Sherlock Holmes. Possibly the most well known character in literature. Most of the stories are PD. Just a few are still in copyright in the US. The Sherlock Holmes name is neither copyright nor trademarked. Case law has shown that I am free to adapt any of the PD works in the SH series to a new story or medium but I am not able to use the character in a completely new derivative work without the permission of one of the two companies that own a half share of the estate of Doyle. I could have a character called Sherlock Holmes but if he was a tall, thin, hawk-like nosed, intellectual, drug taking, private detective with a medical practitioner sidekick who lived with him at 221B Baker Street I would be in trouble.